Rubicon® announces that it has been named the exclusive waste, recycling, and sustainability partner of the Keeneland Association. The term of the agreement is five years. Keeneland is taking a leadership position in the racing industry with its zero-waste effort, which is the latest addition to the track’s established record of innovation. Headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky, the “horse capital of the world,” Keeneland is a world class racetrack and auction house. Founded in 1936, the track is renowned for its spring and fall race meets and thoroughbred auctions in September, November, and January. Most recently, Keeneland served as host for this year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Since its inception, Keeneland has been guided by the founders’ mission to focus on innovation and integrity, making Keeneland a true change-agent in the Thoroughbred industry. Above all, Keeneland is committed to equine safety and welfare and to preserving the integrity of the sport of Thoroughbred racing. Keeneland maintains this founding vision more than eight decades later, adding an emphasis on environmental sustainability through this new partnership with Rubicon.
The partnership is designed to advance the companies’ shared goal of ending waste, beginning with a track-wide evaluation of current operations and the design and implementation of a full-service waste management program. Daily operations and progress towards zero waste will be tracked and managed through Rubicon’s industry-leading customer portal, RUBICONConnectTM. Over the course of the five-year agreement, the partnership will expand to incorporate a mixed recycling program, recommendations for the replacement of upstream material types such as polystyrene cups and other non-reusable items, the creation of a food scrap diversion program, and the development of removal and recycling solutions for e-waste, tires, and other hard-to-recycle materials.
“At Keeneland, we are constantly evaluating how we can advance the racing industry’s role in making actionable changes and we are intrinsically aware of our footprint as a destination for worldwide owners, trainers, riders, and fans. Just as we are committed to being stewards of our sport, we must be equally committed to being stewards of our planet,” said Keeneland Vice President and COO Vince Gabbert. “Becoming a near zero-waste facility felt like a natural next step for both racing and sports tourism at large. Through ample research, we selected Rubicon as our partner due to the company’s tailor-made and data-led approach to addressing waste management.”
Racing facilities are well-positioned to pursue meaningful progress in terms of waste, recycling, and sustainability practices. At Keeneland alone, there are more than 300 horses stabled at any one time, and in 2019 during a 16-day period, more than 242,000 visitors attended the races. This level of personnel and fan attendance results in large amounts of food, paper, and plastic waste, as well as straw and hay, muck, cardboard, metal, and wood waste. The quantity and complexity of these waste streams indicates that there is a tremendous opportunity to make tangible, measurable sustainability gains and drive positive change across the entire industry.
Since Rubicon’s founding over a decade ago, its mission has been to end waste. The company has been focused on helping its customers divert waste away from landfills and create opportunities for waste materials to be reused or repurposed. Rubicon is a Certified B Corporation, affirming that the company meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance.
“Kentucky is my home and I am so honored to partner with Keeneland on our company’s mission to end waste,” said Rubicon Founder, Chairman, and CEO Nate Morris. “Rubicon is changing the entire waste and recycling industry by bringing transparency, data, and analytics to a category that is ripe for innovation. With partners like Keeneland, we can bring the circular economy to the heart of America and help to move Keeneland, and the broader horse-racing industry, toward the goal of zero waste.”